Syrian rebels down regime plane and capture pilot

Syrian rebels down regime plane and capture pilot
2 min read
15 August, 2017
A Syrian regime warplane was downed by Syrian rebels on Tuesday, a monitoring group confirmed, adding that the pilot was captured alive.
A Syrian rebel group said it shot down the government warplane [File Photo: Getty]

A Syrian rebel group says it shot down a regime warplane and captured its pilot alive on Tuesday, close to a ceasefire zone in the war-ravaged country's south.

The Ahmad al-Abdo Forces shot down the Syrian MiG-21 fighter jet close to Wadi Mahmoud in the southern province of Suweida, the group's communications head Fares al-Munjed told AFP.

"The pilot is in our hands. He is injured and being treated," Munjed said.

The news was confirmed by the London-based monitor, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

According to Munjed, the area where the aircraft was downed is outside a ceasefire zone negotiated last month by the US, Russia and Jordan. 

Parts of Daraa, Quneitra, and Sweida provinces are included in the agreement, which has brought relative quiet to the zone though some violence has been reported. 

Days after the deal went into effect, the Ahmad al-Abdo Forces hit a Syrian regime jet that landed safely in regime-controlled territory.

Munjed said his group had used a "23 millimetre anti-aircraft gun" to down the warplane on Tuesday.

"We will take care to treat the captured pilot in accordance with international law," he told AFP.

The rebel group's leadership was still debating what would happen to the pilot after his treatment, he said.

More than half a million people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 when anti-government protests were brutally suppressed by security forces. 

Multiple attempted ceasefires, including nationwide truces, have failed to bring a long-term end to the war.